(US - 2014)
Directed by Michael Cuesta. Written by Peter Landesman. Cast: Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Andy Garcia, Ray Liotta, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen, Paz Vega, Michael Kenneth Williams, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Robert Patrick, Richard Schiff, Gil Bellows, Yul Vazquez, Lucas Hedges, Dan Futterman, Josh Close, Steve Coulter, Susan Walters, Clay Kraski. (R, 112 mins)
Though it has some flaws in its execution, particularly in its second half, it's a shame that the compelling KILL THE MESSENGER isn't finding an audience. That Focus only has it on 425 screens nationally isn't helping, but it's also indicative of the fact that smart films for adult audiences--films that used to be commonplace--are now largely relegated to art houses and limited/VOD releases. With just a $5 million budget and a sizable cast of well-known faces obviously taking a pay cut to be onboard, KILL THE MESSENGER is obviously a project that the actors believed in and it'll find an audience eventually, but with its incendiary subject matter and a riveting performance by Jeremy Renner, it should be getting more attention than it's received thus far. Based on Gary Webb's 1998 book Dark Alliance and Nick Schou's 2006 book Kill the Messenger, the film tells the story of Webb (Renner), a small-time San Jose Mercury News reporter who stumbled onto a story that blew the doors off the CIA's involvement in cocaine trafficking and the crack epidemic in South Central L.A. that helped fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua in the 1980s.
|Gary Webb (1955-2004)